It was our first Christmas in Canada away from all our friends and family in South Africa and only a month into my Canadian adventure. Nervous that we would be a little homesick, we decided to spend it surrounded by Christmas bliss in the mountains. After all, what is better than a White Christmas in Banff? We booked at the Rimrock Resort Hotel through booking.com.
A Small Hiccup:
A few days before we arrived we had a small hiccup. I had wanted to book Eden for Christmas evening, knowing in advance that it is a particularly busy time and that particular restaurant is the best in town. When trying to book the dinner under our reservation number, they could not find it in the system! (Insert panic attack) We had confirmation from booking.com side but somehow Rimrock side had not picked up our reservation on their system. Thankfully, we had phoned and it’s a new rule of mine to confirm any bookings made through booking.com — and you should too!
Rimrock is a 4-star (AAA/CAA 4 Diamond) hotel located on Sulphur Mountain, about 5 minutes from central Banff Town. While the hotel is not as famous as the Fairmont Banff Springs, it is definitely the next best thing and you shouldn’t dismiss this hotel as an option next time you visit Banff. Plus, it is way more reasonable prise-wise!
Who should stay here?
We enjoyed the trip as a couple, but there were also many families staying at the hotel. They enjoyed the kids activities like meeting Santa in the Larkspur Lounge. Ice skating beside an open fire with free hot chocolate is another special treat for the kids during your winter stay.
Which room should you stay in?
We got a balcony Premium Guestroom and we loved it – not that we could sit out there, it was blady cold! Our view was stunning but limited, however I am sure the higher rooms have better views. The Signature GrandView Rooms look out of this world, but obviously come with a higher price tag. Decide whether you’d like to splurge or not, however we were happy with our ‘basic’ room. If you aren’t planning to spend much time in the room, there is no need to upgrade.
Why will you love it?
The view. Seriously. The view. It is quite literally the highlight of this hotel. You’ll enjoy ending your day of exploring (or ski-ing) with a coffee or glass of wine in front of the huge fireplace in the Larkspur Lounge while staring out into the mountains through the towering bay windows. The hotel is also cheaper than it’s famous counterpart, the Fairmont (sometimes even half the price). The hotel is also conveniently located a few steps from the Banff Upper Hot Springs and the Banff Gondola, both of which are a must-see. An added bonus, if you’re in Banff for an especially relaxing holiday, the hotel boasts a spa too.
Why you might not like it?
While the location of the hotel means stunning mountain views, but it also means it is quite a walk to the main street in Banff town. But this did not bug us. In fact, it’s even more convenient in a way as there is a free regular shuttle that stops right outside the hotel and takes you straight to the main street. The rooms are a little old-fashioned and there was a parking charge of $18 CAD that we had not been expecting, but neither of these took away from the holiday.
Don’t miss out on a dinner experience at Eden. I’m not joking when I say this dinner quite literally brought tears to Craig’s eyes as he ate his chocolate dessert. It was expensive but completely worth it. Our intimate table faced out one of the beautiful bay windows so we could enjoy the mountain views throughout our dinner. Some people have even been lucky enough to spot the Northern Lights over the mountains during their dinner – and I kind of hate them for it. Also, the staff’s impeccable and attentive service was up there with our Le George dinner experience at the Four Seasons in Paris. I will definitely return for another exceptional dinner, except next time I’ll take advantage of the incredible wine pairings.
All in all, we loved this trip. Let us know if you go! I’d love to hear about your holiday in Banff!
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